Woman Hollering Creek by Sandra Cisneros Discussion Questions

DIRECTIONS:  Choose 5 of the following questions to discuss with partners in Lines of Communications activity

  1. What do you learn about Cleófilas in the very first section of the story, which is told as a flashback? What are the contrasts between “then” and “now” that Cisneros establishes in this section?
  2. How does becoming a mother change Cleófilas’s outlook on her situation? Does she defineherself through motherhood? Explain.
  3. How does the assumption that “to suffer for love is good. The pain all sweet somehow. In the end” (para. 8) help shape Cleófilas’s behavior? Does she ultimately reject this view? How can you tell?
  4. Why didn’t Cleófilas behave as she thought she would when Juan Pedro first struck her? Why do you think she was “speechless, motionless, numb” (para. 24)?
  5. What is the importance of the character of Maximiliano? What does Cleófilas’s perception of him tell us about her?
  6. In her new home in Texas, Cleófilas lives between Dolores and Soledad. In Spanish, dolores means “sorrow” and soledad means “solitude.” What does the author’s choice of these names for neighbors suggest about Cleófilas’s life in this Texas town? What other evidence can you find to support this interpretation of Cleófilas’s life in Seguin?
  7. How does Cisneros portray the situation of both men and women—the community in general—who have immigrated to the United States from Mexico? Judging from the depiction in “Woman Hollering Creek,” have they found a better life than the one they left?
  8. Why doesn’t Cleófilas want to return to her father’s home in Mexico? Describe the various “ways out” she considers over the course of the story. Why does she finally decide to return to Mexico?
  9. Why are telenovelas important in this story? What role do they play in women’s lives? How do they affect Cleófilas’s views about love and relationships?
  10. Explain the role La Gritona (Woman Hollering Creek) plays in the story. What does it symbolize? How does the meaning of the symbol change over the course of the story?